The "Elgin Marbles": Greek Property in British Museums Persuasive Essay by TheWholeDamnShow

The "Elgin Marbles": Greek Property in British Museums
An examination of the "Elgin Marbles", ancient Parthenon figures that were claimed by British archaeologists in the 18th century during Greek civil strife, and the debate over whether or not they should be returned to Greece.
# 60387 | 3,175 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2003 | US

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This paper examines the controversy that exists over the "Elgin Marbles", which were originally part of the Greek Parthenon's frieze, that were taken by Lord Elgin of England in the late 18th century. The paper takes the position that the statues and other artifacts which currently are housed in English museums, are the rightful property of the Greek people and should be returned to Greece. The paper is divided into several sections. The first gives a history of the Elgin Marbles and how they came into possession of the English in the first place. A brief history of the Parthenon is also given in this section, with a detailed examination of the architecture and the ancient politics that surrounded its construction. The paper then spans the history of the Parthenon up until the 18th century, including the building losing its roof and several architectural designs due to the Ottoman Turks using it as an armory during their control of Greece. The paper discusses how British archaeologists claimed the pieces in the 1800s, fearful that the Greeks could not maintain such classical pieces of work. The paper ends with a section discussing the latest improvements that are underway in Greece to house the "Elgin Marbles" if an international agreement can be reached that will send the pieces of the Parthenon back to Athens. The concept of Greek pride and honor in their ancient ancestry is discussed and how originally, when Greece was unable to maintain such pieces, the idea to keep them in England was the correct decision to be made.

From the Paper:

"The mere thought of The Parthenon evokes an image of dignity and pride for not only the current Greek citizens who look upon their ancient ancestors with honor, but for the entirety of Western civilization who view The Parthenon as a representation of the greatness that can be achieved by Western culture. Using this Western concept of pride as a basis, it is clear to see why the British government has its roots in claiming that the treasures of the Parthenon would be better served in a more upscale environment such as The British Museum rather then an unfinished Acropolis museum in Athens. Nevertheless, the removal of The Parthenon artifacts, which are known as The Elgin Marbles since the works of art were "purchased" by the English noble Lord Thomas Bruce of Elgin in 1801, was in essence an infraction upon the Greek populace's right to their ancestors' culture. In large part due to the importance of The Parthenon and the culture that it represents to Greece, the rightful place of the Elgin Marbles is in Athens where the pieces of architecture were always intended to remain when they were completed. "

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The "Elgin Marbles": Greek Property in British Museums (2005, August 18) Retrieved December 09, 2022, from

MLA Format

"The "Elgin Marbles": Greek Property in British Museums" 18 August 2005. Web. 09 December. 2022. <>